Saturday, September 23, 2023

Over 4,000 units could be on the way to Brunswick County

The Brunswick County Planning Board will consider four development applications Monday, Sept. 12. (Port City Daily/File)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Four developments proposing over a hundred homes each will be considered by the Brunswick County Planning Board Monday. 

Between four projects, nearly 4,800 units could hit the housing market in the next few years, satisfying the increased demand for homes in North Carolina’s second-fastest growing county.

Among the developments are a multi-family proposal on the outskirts of Ocean Isle Beach, a suburban neighborhood on Malmo Loop Road, over 200 dwellings outside Southport and a major subdivision outside off U.S. Highway 17 miles from Shallotte. 

East Lake

Malmo Loop Road and Colon Mintz Road

[UPDATE: The planning board voted unanimously to deny the project.]

The East Lake development. (Criteria Engineering).

The largest project on the planning board’s agenda is a development submitted by Criteria Engineering, to be located at the juncture of Malmo Loop and Colon Mintz roads, west of Leland. 

Spanning four land parcels over 2,114 acres, East Lake includes 3,925 single-family lots, 693 townhomes and 300 multi-family units. The property is zoned RR, rural residential, to allow for a maximum density of 2.9 dwellings per acre; Criteria is proposing an overall density of 2.38 dwellings per acre. 

The development also includes 23 acres for commercial use and 27 acres for public use. The latter will be located on Colon Mintz Road and dedicated to the county for public use prior to the development’s first phase. 

The application’s technical review committee document states Brunswick County Schools is requesting a minimum of 25 acres for a viable school site. As well, fire and EMS services are requesting a site be allocated for a future facility. 

According to Brunswick County’s land development code (LDC), the rural residential zoning is intended for nonresidential agricultural and low-density residential uses. The land can also be designated for nonresidential uses “supportive of the county’s traditional agricultural orientation, including farming and silviculture operations.”

The land is surrounded by single-family homes, industrial use and vacant land. The latter is the proposed site for a 1,800-unit subdivision approved by Brunswick County, with the goal to be annexed into the Town of Leland. 

The LDC states development should rely predominantly on individual wells and septic tank systems, though clustered residential developments served by public systems “may be allowed.” Southeastern development company Criteria Engineering’s proposal states water and sewer will be provided by the county. 

The colossal development will use private roads, and parking needs will be satisfied with two driveway spaces per single-family lot and 1.75 spaces per multi-family unit. According to its application, East Lake will generate 32,000 trips per weekday on average. A traffic impact analysis and driveway permit from NCDOT will be required.

According to an initial traffic evaluation, U.S. 74/76 west of U.S. 140 would become over capacity, and east of U.S. 140 would reach near capacity and potentially require a road widening, if the development is approved. Malmo Loop Road between U.S. 74/76 and Colon Mintz Road would also be over capacity, requiring additional turn lanes and signalization. 

East Lake will offer 849 acres of open space, 500 acres over the minimum requirement along with 84 acres of recreational land. A 10-foot buffer along Malmo Loop and Colon Mintz roads will be included to make room for a future greenway while an “extensive” walking trail will be mapped throughout the subdivision.

Ocean Isle Mixed Use Development

Beach Drive and Hale Swamp Road

[UPDATE: The planning board approved the project.]

The Ocean Isle Mixed Use Developement. (Paramounte Engineering).

Proposed by major Wilmington company Paramounte Engineering, responsible for the Helm’s Point subdivision, Myrtle Grove Village, and the proposed Carolinian Inn development, is now looking to further branch out into Brunswick County. Their previous Brunswick County project is Mulberry Street Park in Shallotte. 

The 73-acre project proposes 36 semi-attached homes, 84 townhomes and 304 multi-family units, along with 5 acres of commercial space, located along Beach Drive and Hale Swamp Road, less than 2.5 miles from the Ocean Isle coast. 

The land is zoned R-7500, medium-density residential, to allow for a maximum density of 5.8 dwelling per acre. The project’s submittal states its proposed overall density is 5.76 dwellings per acre. The majority of surrounding parcels are also zoned R-7500 along with CLD, commercial low-density. 

Water and sewer will be provided by the county and the development’s roads will be private. Parking will be located off-street — two driveway spaces for single-family lots, 1.75 for multi-family units.

An official traffic impact analysis will be required. According to an initial evaluation, the development is expected to produce 2,598 vehicle trips on average per weekday.

Around 14 acres of open space are required per the land development code; 23 acres are provided via project plans along with 3 acres of recreational space.

An AE flood zone — high-risk flood areas — runs through the middle of the site, but no structures will be located inside of it.

Southport Meadows 

Long Beach Road and River Road 

[UPDATE: The planning board approved the project.]

Southport Meadows development. (Timmons Group).

Located at Long Beach and River roads, the 160-acre Southport Meadows will potentially bring 128 single-family lots and 120 townhomes to north of Southport city limits. 

The land is zoned CLD, commercial low-density, as is land to its north, east and west. To its south is the Rivermist at Dutchman Village subdivision.

Single-family homes are nearby. According to the land development code, the CLD district is intended for outlying areas adjacent to major thoroughfares. The application states the county’s Future Land Use Map denotes the area as commercial, but the parcel is in the process of being updated through the Blueprint Brunswick Project.

The project was submitted by Timmons Group, a southeast developer with various residential, university, commercial and government developments under its belt. 

Water and sewer will be provided by the county; roads will be private. Parking needs will be satisfied by two driveway spaces per lot.  

A traffic impact analysis will be required, but an initial evaluation estimates 1,922 trips will be generated per weekday on average. 

The open space requirement is 40 acres; the developer is tripling that number with a proposed 120 acres open space along with 6 acres of recreational space. 

An AE flood zone runs through the southern end of the site, though no structures will be placed amidst it. 

Holden Oaks 

Royal Oak Road

[UPDATE: The planning board approved the project.]

Holden Oakes development. (Lennar Carolinas).

The last development going before the planning board Monday is a major subdivision with 220 single family homes along half-mile of Royal Oak Road. 

The 70-acre parcel is nearly 4 miles outside of Shallotte. It’s zoned R-6000, high-density residential, allowing for a density up to 7.3 dwellings per acre; however, this proposal is cutting an overall density by half: 3.11 units per acre. 

The land is situated between other R-6000 zonings and rural residential uses. Water and sewer will be county-provided; roads will be private. Parking is outlined as two driveway spaces per lot. 

Lennar Carolinas, a real-estate company operating in the Carolinas, is the project’s applicant.

A formal traffic impact analysis will be required; however, the application estimates 2,105 weekdays trips will be generated on average.

Developers are proposing almost 14 acres of open space, nearly triple the requirement. Almost 2 acres of recreational space is included, although technical review committee feedback requested the developers relocate the “narrow strips” for recreation, as they did not appear to be “practical” for recreational use.

Reach out to Brenna Flanagan at

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